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Here's your daily audio briefing (updated weekdays):


4.9 Magnitude Quake Reported Near Anza

Updated
Published
Maps shows the location of Friday night's temblor. (Courtesy of USGS)

An earthquake with a preliminary magniture of 4.9 was reported near Anza, south of Palm Springs area, shortly before 7 p.m. tonight.

Satellite imagery of the epicenter shows a remote area, but the shaking appears to have been felt far more widely.

Our friends at the Desert Sun report it was felt strongly in Palm Springs, "shaking homes, and many other communities. In the first 15 minutes since the initial quake, there were three aftershocks of 3.6, 3.0 and 3.7 in the same area."

THE BIG ONE IS COMING. GET PREPARED

We don't want to scare you, but the Big One is coming. We don't know when, but we know it'll be at least 44 times stronger than Northridge and 11 times stronger than the Ridgcrest quakes last year. To help you get prepared, we've compiled a handy reading list.

Messages Of Hope In Our Skies

Updated
Published

If you looked toward the skies around noon today, you may have seen an encouraging message.

Pilots with Chino-based SkyTypers left messages among the clouds above Hollywood and Dodger Stadium before heading down to Orange County.

Phyllis Smith, with the skywriting company, says they left messages of hope and unity to lift spirits:

"'Thanks to our first responders.' 'We will get through this together.' 'Thanks to our health care providers' 'Wash your hands' — that's a big one. We want people to keep washing their hands."

While it might not seem like it from the ground, Smith says each letter written in the sky is about as tall as the Empire State Building. One message can span five to seven miles. Missed it? No problem. We have you covered above with shots captured by our visual journalist Chava Sanchez.

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How To Care For Someone With COVID-19 At Home. One Tip: Don't Shake Their Laundry

Updated
Published

We’re asking public health officials and experts to answer your questions about the COVID-19 pandemic. Keep in mind that this information does not constitute professional medical advice. For questions regarding your own health, always consult a physician.

For those caring for someone with COVID-19 at home, a mask is mandatory. But there are also a number of other things to think about, says UCLA’s Dr. Robert Kim-Farley. He’s with the Fielding School of Public Health and a former staffer with the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.

First, you have to closely watch that person...

“When you're caring for someone who has COVID-19 and they have not gotten ill enough to have to go to the hospital, I think the first thing that you need to realize is that you need to be monitoring them to make sure that if they start having trouble breathing or, you know, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, that you're calling their healthcare provider to say that, ‘Hey look this person is experiencing some more severe symptoms,’ especially if they're elderly or they had pre-existing conditions.”

Also...

“Make sure that person has a mask, and that you’re wearing a mask... Cleaning surfaces frequently, trying to keep that person who is sick to using just one bedroom. Ideally, just one bathroom.

And this is interesting...

“Laundry is okay but you shouldn’t be shaking the laundry before putting it in the machine so you're not aerosolizing these virus particles that may be on their laundry.

Finally...

“I think the important thing is, again, just making sure that any unnecessary visitors are restricted and washing your hands frequently.”

LISTEN TO THE ENTIRE Q&A:

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Garcetti Sees Hope In Coronavirus Numbers, But Says It's No Time For Complacency

Updated
Published

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said he sees some hope in today's coronavirus numbers, even though the county added 521 new cases to surpass 4,500 countywide.

The reason for that glimmer of hope? While the raw number of new daily cases may be increasing on average, Garcetti said that number as a percent of the total is dropping. Last week, cases increased by an average of 27% each day. This week, they went up by only 18% each day.

Still:

"On the other hand, before you start to get relaxed and say we can go outside, this is a moment to continue pressing on the accelerator."

Underscoring that commitment to continue with the "Safer At Home" order, Garcetti announced that 27 non-essential businesses have now been referred to the city attorney's office for prosecution.

These are businesses that have refused to close, been visited by the LAPD and given verbal warnings, and yet continued to remain open. Non-essential businesses that refuse to heed the closure orders have been told they eventually could face misdeanor offenses, and the L.A. Department of Water and Power has been instructed to shut off their utilities.

The city attorney has now filed criminal charges against four of the first businesses that were referred.

Garcetti also announced that anyone who needs to renew a preferential parking district permit will have a two-week extension.

WATCH THE FULL ADDRESS:

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Governor Newsom Says California Has 7,000 Hotel Rooms Ready For Homeless Residents

Updated
Published
Makeshift tents house the homeless in Los Angeles (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced today that the state has secured nearly 7,000 hotel rooms for homeless Californians to stay in during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The rooms are for anyone who’s homeless and tests positive for the virus, or was known to be exposed to it.

They're also for people outside who are over 65, or are documented to have underlying chronic health conditions like heart or lung disease in local homeless case management systems.

Newsom said about 75% of the tab for these hotel rooms will be covered by the federal government. He said the $2 trillion relief bill included about $180 million to aid the homeless in California.

In the coming weeks, Newsom hopes to open even more hotel rooms — for a total of 15,000.

Advocates for the homeless say it’s a good start, but even 15,000 rooms would shelter just one-tenth of California’s homeless population.

They point out that most people outside have chronic health conditions.

MORE ON CORONAVIRUS:

LA Landlords Urge Renters To Pay Online Due To Coronavirus Safety Concerns

Updated
Published
A "For Rent" sign is seen on a building Hollywood, California, May 11, 2016. ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

Many L.A. landlords have been urging their tenants to pay rent online, saying the purpose is to promote social distancing and prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

Some tenants are getting charged hefty online payment fees. And housing rights advocates say in many cases, these requirements may violate California state law.

Read our full story here.

LA County Could See 1,000 New COVID-19 Cases Per Day Next Week

Updated
Published
COVID-19 testing is underway at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health's laboratory. (Courtesy of the County of Los Angeles)

L.A. County announced Friday that three additional COVID-19 testing sites have come online. And as more testing happens, the number of confirmed cases is expected to jump.

The drive-up sites are in Redondo Beach, Pomona and Palmdale. People 65 or older with symptoms and other at risk groups are eligible for a nose or cheek swab.

Specimen collection operations like these are part of the reason there's been a significant increase in the amount of people tested. That number is at about 26,000 people now in the county.

“We were well under 50 tests a day when we started, we thought we were doing well when we were able to get capacity to up to two or three hundred tests a day,” said L.A. County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer. “And now we’re testing over 7,000 people a day.”

Ferrer says the goal is to test 10,000 people per day. But that milestone will be accompanied by a bump in the number of cases, she said.

As early as next week, Ferrer expects to see as many as 1,000 new COVID-19 cases a day.

GO DEEPER:

You CAN Find Love Online In The Time Of The Coronavirus. Really.

Updated
Published
The marquee message on the shuttered Hayworth Theatre. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The stay at home order issued two weeks ago has disrupted many aspects of our lives. Including matters of the heart.

But should people try to find love in the time of the coronavirus?

The answer is YES, according to Damona Hoffman, a relationship expert and host of The Dates & Mates podcast. She says dating apps are actually seeing a surge in use, and new users are coming on line, too. So, she makes the case that there's never been a better time to find love online:

"I've been doing this for 15 years...and the real connections I find, develop when people take the time to get to know each other on a deeper level. So, I actually think this could be a really good thing for dating that it's forcing people to slow down to really listen, and to connect before they just swipe, swipe, swipe, go on a date, see what happens."

If you’re ready to take the leap, she says "you have to create a great profile that really draws the right people." Hoffman recommends:

"The three C's, to draw in the dates. So, it's color, context and character. Color to really stand out. Context to tell what your life story is, what you like doing when you can actually leave your house and character, that's showing your personality and that's the one that most people miss."

And, yes, there are some "don'ts" too:

"Do not spend too much time over text, especially now that the end goal is not even meeting in person just yet. It's just to move to a video date. You have to get get to that point more quickly because a lot of misunderstanding can happen when you're just sending text back and forth."

So there you have it, you can find love in this time of the coronavirus. You can listen to more of Damona's conversation with Take Two's A Martinez.

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Landlord Demands ‘100%’ Of Stimulus Money For Back Rent; Later Says It’s Misunderstanding

Updated
Published

One Los Feliz renter received this letter from landlord ROM Residential, which said tenants on a rent deferral plan needed to turn over "100%" of any government stimulus money towards back rent, within five days of receiving it.

Councilmember David Ryu blasted the notice, saying in his own letter that he was "extremely alarmed" and that ROM Residential's letter "demonstrates a lack of empathy." Ryu wrote that the stimulus provision was not correct and that the company's "attempt to extract the meager support working Angelenos might receive right now is shameful."

ROM Residential says it's all a misunderstanding — the letter was a draft and it has been revised to take out the language about stimulus money (you can read the revised version here).

In a phone interview, ROM Residential partner Leeor Maciborski told LAist, "We were really frustrated with the councilman's letter. It was unnecessarily harsh, he could have just called or emailed up and asked what was going on. It took that letter completely out of context, it wasn't meant for circulation. It was just unfair."

Maciborski added that "about a third" of renters in the company's 1,500 units had asked for rent deferment.

We collected several COVID-19-related letters from landlords — you can read those here.

MORE ON RENTING IN SOCAL

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Trump Refuses To Wear Mask Despite CDC Recommendations

Updated
Published

Just days after the White House coronavirus task force warned Americans to brace for sobering death tolls, the administration is vowing to reimburse hospitals for treating uninsured patients infected with the coronavirus.

Speaking to reporters Friday, President Trump said the reimbursement will come using funds from the economic relief package Congress passed last month.

"This should alleviate any concern uninsured Americans may have about seeking the coronavirus treatment," Trump said.

Trump also announced that the health insurance system Blue Cross Blue Shield will not require any co-pays from patients for treatment of the virus over the next 60 days, similar to the commitments of Cigna and Humana.

"For them to do that, is a big statement," Trump said.

USING DEFENSE PRODUCTION ACT

Trump also said he's invoking the Defense Production Act to prohibit the exporting of critical medical supplies by "unscrupulous actors and profiteers."

The president referenced an operation earlier this week by the Department of Justice's COVID-19 hoarding and price gauging task force, which took custody of nearly 200,000 N95 respirator masks and 600,000 medical-grade gloves, along with hand sanitizers and spray disinfectant. The materials were distributed to health care workers in New York and New Jersey.

The owner of the hoarded stash was paid fair market value (pre-pandemic) by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Trump also announced that the Department of Defense is providing about 8.1 million N95 respirators, saying 200,000 of them have already been given to New York City.

Trump said he anticipates that number will increase.

NEW GUIDANCE ON WEARING MASKS

After reports of changed mask guidelines circulated this week, Trump announced a change to those guidelines Friday.

Trump said the fact that individuals can transmit the virus without presenting any symptoms has led the CDC to advise using non-medical cloth face coverings as an additional voluntary public health measure.

The president stressed repeatedly that it's voluntary.

"With the masks, it's going to be really a voluntary thing. You can do it. You don't have to do it," Trump said. "I'm choosing not to do it, but some people may want to do it. And that's OK. It may be good."

Trump said such coverings can be purchased online or made at home and can be easily washed and reused.

He emphasized that the CDC is not recommending using surgical grade masks, as those need to be reserved for health care workers, and that social distancing guidelines are still in place.

DIRECT PAYMENTS SLATED TO COME IN TWO WEEKS

During Thursday's briefing at the White House, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said his department is working to ensure that eligible taxpayers will receive their first direct payments within two weeks — one week earlier than originally promised.

"We're delivering on our commitments," Mnuchin said. "The IRS, which I oversee, within two weeks, the first money will be in people's accounts."

Mnuchin dismissed reports that some relief payments — especially to people who can't accept direct deposits and require paper checks — may take up to 20 weeks to reach some Americans.

"If we don't have your information, you'll have a simple Web portal; you'll upload it," Mnuchin said. "If we don't have that, we'll send you checks in the mail."

Mnuchin was joined by Jovita Carranza, head of the Small Business Administration, who said her team is working around the clock to prioritize getting emergency capital for small businesses suffering as a result of the coronavirus.

"I want to ensure that small businesses all over the country know about the Paycheck Protection Program and how they can benefit from this," Carranza said. "Simply put, the Paycheck Protection Program is to help keep employees on payroll and small businesses open. SBA will forgive the portion of the loan that is used toward job retention and certain other expenses."

Efforts to mitigate the economic toll of shutting down the country comes as the U.S. suffered a net loss of jobs for the first time in nearly a decade. Ten million people filed for unemployment in the last two weeks alone.

President Trump, Vice President Pence, and other coronavirus task force members also emphasized the work being done to distribute supplies to hospitals, including ventilators and masks.


Note: President Trump usually opens these news conferences with his own remarks. His comments in a number of past briefings have later been contradicted by information provided by other officials. He has also repeatedly used stigmatizing language to describe COVID-19. Following the president's remarks, health experts and other adminstration leaders provide additional updates.


MORE ON CORONAVIRUS:

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Advocates Say LA County's Youth Offenders Have Few Coronavirus Protections

Updated
Published
FILE PHOTO: A probation officer walks through a dormitory at Camp Afflerbaugh in 2013. (Grant Slater / KPCC)

Institutions that house many people in tight quarters — like homeless shelters, nursing homes, jails and prisons — are all known risks for COVID-19 outbreaks.

Advocates for youth offenders in L.A. County are now raising deep concerns about conditions in the eight facilities that house about 700 young people ages 12 to 23.

Jerod Gunsberg, a private attorney who represents juvenile offenders as part of a partnership between L.A. County and the L.A. County Bar Association, told us:

"We are getting repeated, consistent reports of youth who are held in custody, not having any guidance or guidelines on social distancing. They're eating communally, they're showering communally. There's no consistent access to soap and water or hand sanitizer."

READ MORE ABOUT THE CONDITIONS:

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4,500 Coronavirus Cases In LA County; Plus, Resources For Economic Relief

Updated
Published
L.A. County health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer (L) with sign-language interpreter (R). L.A. County

Los Angeles County now has more than 4,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 11 more people have died from the disease.

Nearly a quarter of the new cases came over the last 48 hours as the daily case numbers continue to increase.

The new numbers came as part of a daily update from the county's coronavirus task force. Here's a breakdown:

  • 4,566 total cases so far
  • 521 new cases, and 1,055 new cases in the last 48 hours
  • 11 new deaths: seven people over age 65, three people from 41-65, and one person between 18-40
  • All except one of the people between 41 and 65 had underlying health conditions
  • 1.9% mortality rate
  • 89 total deaths in L.A. County so far
  • 1,018 people have been hospitalized at some point, making up 22% of all positive cases
  • 541 people are currently hospitalized, and more than half are 55 or older
  • 1,627 hospital beds are available in L.A. County
  • 286 Intensive Care Unit beds are available
  • 26,000 people have been tested so far, and about 13-14% have been positive, though that rate could go down as the only remaining commercial labs that aren't sharing negative results begin to do so

HOW EASILY DOES IT SPREAD?

Though there is still little public health officials can say with certainty about this pandemic, there are some things they know "for sure." One of these is that the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is not airborne, Ferrer said.

The droplets that carry it are too big and heavy to linger in the air, instead falling to the ground — to tabletops, doorknobs, and other surfaces.(Note: Scientists are also studying how coronavirus might travel through the air.)

Another question remains of concern: viral load — that's the amount of the virus found in your system. It's still unclear whether viral load can affect your chances of getting sick, but recent studies clearly suggest that it could affect the severity of your illness, Ferrer said.

Ferrer reiterated the guidance on wearing homemade facial coverings to help reduce the chance of transmission, and again asked the public to avoid buying medical or surgical grade masks.

She also pleaded with grocery stores and pharmacies to offer free delivery to those who are most at risk from COVID-19, since older people, pregnant women, and those with underlying health conditions should be staying at home.

RELIEF PROGRAMS

The public health response to COVID-19 has brought its own economic woes, as unemployment claims skyrocket. Last week, more than 878,000 Californians filed for unemployment as businesses furloughed or laid off workers. About a quarter million of those unemployment claims came here in Los Angeles County, Supervisor Hilda Solis said.

If you've lost your job, you can get help at edd.ca.gov/unemployment, or call 1-800-300-5616 to file for unemployment insurance

Many people will receive a stimulus check to help mitigate any losses suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you provided your bank account information to the IRS, you should see a direct deposit by April 17, Solis said. If you've opted to receive a paper check, you could see a delay of up to five months, though Solis said she expects the federal government will work to do what it can to avoid delays.

For small business loans, you can visit LACountyHelpCenter.org or call 833-238-4450. L.A. County is expected to get about $500,000 from the state to provide grants to eligible businesses that can demonstrate significant economic hardship, Solis said.

You can also find help and resources from the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation at laedc.org or by calling 213-236-4839.

If you need to apply for public assistance, you can access the Department of Public Social Services online or through its call center.

If you already receive benefits, you do not need to file any reports or documentation for March, April, or May, according to DPSS director Antonia Jimenez. That includes QR-7 and SAR-7 forms. Benefits will continue and automatically be transferred to your Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards, Jimenez said.

WATCH THE FULL BRIEFING:

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10.4% Day-To-Day Increase In CA's COVID-19 ICU Hospitalizations; State Starts Housing COVID-Positive Homeless In Hotels

Updated
Published

There have been 10,710 positive coronavirus tests so far across California, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in his daily coronavirus press conference, with 2,188 hospitalized and 901 in ICUs. The ICU number is up 10.4% since yesterday.

HOUSING COVID-19-POSITIVE HOMELESS

The state has acquired 6,887 hotel rooms so far and is working on getting 15,000 rooms as part of its coronavirus response program. Hotel rooms are being used to get homeless people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and those who are high-risk off the streets and out of shelters, using funding from FEMA, Newsom said.

The current housing is temporary, but they are also working on increasing permanent support for the homeless. Newsom also noted that they don't want to immediately fill the rooms, as they're looking to create some slack to allow room for homeless people as needed while the epidemic progresses.

Newsom noted one homeless death due to coronavirus, along with at least 14 positive COVID-19 tests among the homeless population across the state. That number is believed to be an undercount. There have been 1,305 trailers provided by FEMA to house the homeless.

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg expressed his thanks for the governor and the state's help addressing homelessness.

PREPARING FOR PEAK HOSPITAL CAPACITY

The state is continuing to work on acquiring additional personal protective equipment before the state hits peak hospital capacity. That peak is expected in the first few weeks of May, Newsom said. There have been 38 million N95 masks distributed so far in the state, Newsom said, with tens of millions more needed and hundreds of millions of other kinds of masks and protective equipment needed. A few hundred additional ventilators were found in the L.A. County area and are being retrofitted.

The governor also announced that nearly 75,000 people have signed up for the state's health care worker surge program so far.

WHAT'S NEXT

The governor plans to announce more specific details on COVID-19 testing protocols on Saturday. On Monday, he'll share details about the physical assets that the state has acquired. The state is continuing to prioritize both the homeless population and seniors, according to Newsom.

SOME STRAIGHT TALK ABOUT COVID-19

We're all living through this extraordinary and frightening pandemic. The vast majority of our newsroom has been working from home (here's some advice on that) since March 11 to bring you calm, helpful reporting. We are answering your questions and taking more.

We're here to help. And if you can help support that effort financially, we'd be grateful.


$349B In Coronavirus Stimulus Loans For Small Businesses Could Run Out Fast

Updated
Published
A sports merchandise store announces temporary closure in Los Angeles, California on March 17, 2020. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

Today is the first day that struggling small business owners can apply for help from the Paycheck Protection Program, which is part of the massive stimulus package passed by Congress last week. The program set aside $349 billion in loans to businesses affected by coronavirus.

While $349 billion sounds like a lot, many people are worried the money will be gone within days, or even hours.

Leon Blankstein, who heads the American Business Bank in downtown L.A., said it's a race to get loan applications in before the money runs out.

READ THE FULL STORY:

Getty Trust Launches $10 Million Fund For Local Visual Arts Organizations

Updated
Published
Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

Los Angeles might be best known for its biggest museums, such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and The Broad, but it’s also home to scores of smaller nonprofit art spaces, many of which are struggling to survive the pandemic.

In response, the J. Paul Getty Trust has created a $10 million fund to help those Los Angeles County organizations that might not have access to cash reserves, endowments or wealthy donors.

In announcing the fund, the Getty board of directors said the grants, ranging from $25,000 to $200,000, would be directed toward “small and mid-size organizations” that “contribute significantly to the region’s artistic diversity and are facing great difficulty during the coronavirus crisis.” The funds will be administered by the California Community Foundation.

The Getty also said that cash earmarked for its $25,000 artist grants through the CCF Fellowships for Visual Artists would instead be distributed to support visual artists in need.

“At this juncture, we are moved by a sense of responsibility to support many of those same organizations as they struggle with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic fallout,” Getty board president James Cuno said in announcing the two initiatives.

Leslie Ito, executive director of Pasadena’s Armory Center for the Arts, which is both a contemporary art gallery and teaching facility, praised the Getty’s decision.

“Small and midsize organizations are vital to the arts ecology in Southern California,” Ito said in an email to KPCC. “They are also the most vulnerable because we employ artists and creative professionals, operate facilities and the lucky ones have saved a bit over time as a cushion. The Getty’s generous investment and recognition of small and mid size arts organizations will help us strategically navigate and adapt rather than being in a constant state of triage.”

The trust, which has a $10 billion endowment, said it will continue to pay its 1,400 employees, including benefits and sick leave. The Getty also asked that individuals and organizations consider donating to its relief fund.


SOME STRAIGHT TALK ABOUT COVID-19

We're all living through this extraordinary and frightening pandemic. The vast majority of our newsroom has been working from home (here's some advice on that) since March 11 to bring you calm, helpful reporting. We are answering your questions and taking more.

We're here to help. And if you can help support that effort financially, we'd be grateful.


Tracking COVID-19: Worldwide Cases Surpass 1M; More Than 4,000 In LA County

Updated
Published

Note on the data you see when clicking on a bubble: Confirmed cases include presumptive positive cases | Recovered cases outside China are estimates based on local media reports, and may be substantially lower than the true number | Active cases = total confirmed - total recovered - total deaths.


Jump to: CALIFORNIA | WORLDWIDE | SOCAL COUNTIES | ANALYSIS

WHERE WE STAND

The U.S. is now reporting more than 258,000 of the over 1 million confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide as of 6:30 a.m. Friday.

Italy, Spain, and now Germany are all reporting more confirmed COVID-19 cases than China, where the outbreak began late last year, but has since greatly slowed.

On Thursday afternoon, L.A. County reported 534 new cases and 13 new deaths. There are now 4,045 total cases to date in L.A. County.

WORLDWIDE

CASES

DEATHS

RECOVERED

LAST UPDATE

1,066,706

56,767

223,697

4/3 10:01 AM

The U.S. is among a number of countries experiencing large-scale outbreaks. The map at the top of this post shows cumulative confirmed cases, deaths and recoveries and is updated in near real-time throughout the day. Zoom out to see more of the world.

Here are the total confirmed cases for the 10 countries currently facing the worst outbreaks as of the date and time listed:

Country Confirmed Cases Deaths Recovered Last Update
United States 258,214 6,605 9,408 4/3 9:55 AM
Italy 119,827 14,681 19,758 4/3 9:55 AM
Spain 117,710 10,935 30,513 4/3 9:55 AM
Germany 89,838 1,230 24,575 4/3 9:55 AM
China 82,509 3,326 76,760 4/3 2:35 AM
France 59,948 5,398 12,555 4/3 9:55 AM
Iran 53,183 3,294 17,935 4/3 9:55 AM
United Kingdom 38,688 3,611 205 4/3 9:55 AM
Turkey 20,921 425 484 4/3 9:55 AM
Switzerland 19,606 591 4,846 4/3 9:55 AM

These numbers are changing rapidly and experts have warned that confirmed cases are far under the actual total of infected individuals. For more detail check the full tracker, which includes death tolls and projections of cases on the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering site. Engineers there are collecting data from:

IN CALIFORNIA

Statewide, our friends on the L.A. Times data desk are tracking cases in California by surveying "numbers released by the dozens of local health agencies across the state." As of about 10:45 a.m. Friday, the newspaper is reporting California has:

  • 11,317 confirmed cases
  • 250 deaths

[Note: If you hit a paywall on the full tracker, please consider subscribing. They have a $1 for eight weeks special. We don't have a paywall but we do count on member support to run our newsroom.]

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA AT A GLANCE

Speaking at a media briefing Thursday afternoon, L.A. County's Public Health director Barbara Ferrer said so far, 78 people testing positive for COVID-19 have died countywide. While the vast majority — 86% — have had underlying health conditions, COVID-19 has also killed some people who appeared to be generally healthy, Ferrer said.

Ferrer said the local mortality rate is 1.9%.

As of Thursday, 900 people have been hospitalized, or about 22% of all positive cases.

Current as of Thursday

LA COUNTY

  • 4,045 cases
  • 78 deaths

* [Includes numbers released by Long Beach. See more from L.A. County]

ORANGE COUNTY

  • 656 cases
  • 13 deaths

* More from Orange County

RIVERSIDE COUNTY

  • 493 cases
  • 14 deaths

* More from Riverside County

VENTURA COUNTY

  • 177 cases*
  • 6 deaths*

* More from Ventura County

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY

  • 304 cases
  • 8 deaths

* More from San Bernardino County

FLATTEN THE CURVE

As new cases continue to be confirmed, Californians are a week into "safer at home" and "social distancing" orders. Last Thursday, state and county officials ordered the vast majority of Californians to strictly limit interactions with other people, wash hands frequently, and stay six feet away from others.

Remember, the goal of social distancing is to "flatten the curve" of COVID-19's spread.

Source: CDC, Drew Harris (Connie Hanzhang Jin/NPR)

The more we can slow the rate of infection, the less overwhelmed the hospital system will be.

Here's a look at nine scenarios over six, nine, and 12 months from our friends at ProPublica:

(Courtesy of ProPublica)

And here's the impact on California hospitals:

(Courtesy of ProPublica)

SOME STRAIGHT TALK ABOUT COVID-19

We're all living through this extraordinary and frightening pandemic. The vast majority of our newsroom has been working from home (here's some advice on that) since March 11 to bring you calm, helpful reporting. We are answering your questions and taking more.

We're here to help. And if you can help support that effort financially, we'd be grateful.


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DON'T MISS ANY L.A. CORONAVIRUS NEWS

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Map: Breaking Down The LA District Attorney Race

Updated
Published
Jackie Lacey racked up votes in Santa Clarita and Rolling Hills Estates, but her challengers together secured over half the vote, setting up a runoff.

In the March primary election, Jackie Lacey racked up votes in Santa Clarita and Rolling Hills Estates — but it wasn’t enough to overcome her challengers’ strength in huge swaths of the county.

Former San Francisco D.A. George Gascón and former public defender Rachel Rossi combined for more than 50% everywhere from Los Angeles to Long Beach to Santa Monica to South Gate.

The challengers secured over half the vote — setting up a runoff between Gascón and incumbent District Attorney Lacey in November.

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Oversight Panel Calls On LAUSD To Make Its Student Laptop Program Sustainable

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(Stock photo by Thomas Lefebvre on Unsplash)

As the coronavirus pandemic forced schools to close, the L.A. Unified School District decided to buy up to 200,000 computers for students — and then figure out how to pay for the device purchases later.

Yesterday, LAUSD figured out how to pay for it. An independent oversight board voted on Thursday and agreed it’s all right for the school district to use more than $77 million in bond funds for the emergency laptop buy.

But this appointed oversight board — LAUSD’s Bond Oversight Committee — wants the district to come up with a plan to make sure LAUSD’s laptop program is sustainable for years to come.

That’s a big deal for two reasons:

  • It highlights that L.A. Unified now is a “one-to-one” district, permanently. The district has tried before to launch plans to provide every student with a laptop to take home and use in school — a device-to-student ratio of “one-to-one.” But past efforts haven’t gone so well. Case in point: LAUSD’s failed attempt to provide every student with an iPad. (Back then, the devices ended up having all kinds of technical problems. The deal also drew scrutiny from federal regulators and the FBI.)
  • This committee is not a fan of LAUSD using bond money — that is, money generated by voter-approved tax increases for school construction — to buy computers. The district likens the device purchases to technological infrastructure improvements, like installing a projector in a classroom. The Bond Oversight Committee doesn’t agree, and has consistently blocked LAUSD efforts to use bond funds for tech projects — including a proposed $150 million “one-to-one” initiative in 2018.

In blessing LAUSD’s request, Bond Oversight Committee members are not conceding their argument that bond funds shouldn’t be used for tech purchases — they said they’re acknowledging the gravity of the emergency the coronavirus has created.

But the committee also voted to ask LAUSD to make regular reports about who’s getting these devices, and to make a “long-term” plan to replace devices that break or become obsolete.

During its meeting Thursday, the committee’s chair, Rachel Greene, said LAUSD has to figure out this sustainability question "because at this rate, it will become a challenge to the existence of the bond program itself to continue in this manner."


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Soul Singer Bill Withers Has Died; His 'Lean On Me' Continues To Inspire

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Inductee Bill Withers speaks onstage during the 30th Annual Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony at Public Hall on April 18, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

Soul singer Bill Withers has died at 81. The 1970s superstar, whose music ranged from joyful to full of pain, "Lovely Day" to "Ain't No Sunshine," died from heart complications Monday in Los Angeles, his family told the Associated Press.

Withers' death may not be coronavirus-related, but his legendary "Lean On Me," one of the quintessential songs about sharing burdens, has been used during the current crisis to bring some light, with health care workers among those turning to the song. North Texas NPR station KERA captured socially distanced apartment dwellers taking inspiration from Italy and sharing the song out apartment windows.

Withers recorded his last album in 1985, leaving the music industry behind after becoming disenchanted with the business side. His daughter Kori is also a singer who has been known to cover her dad's songs, including "Ain't No Sunshine." Watch them sing an unreleased song together in a hotel lobby in the 2009 Withers documentary Still Bill:

Withers was a longtime Angeleno. After being discharged from the Navy, he moved to L.A. and worked at an aircraft parts factory. He started recording demos to try landing a record contract, signing his first deal in 1971.

"We are devastated by the loss of our beloved, devoted husband and father. A solitary man with a heart driven to connect to the world at large, with his poetry and music, he spoke honestly to people and connected them to each other," Withers' family said in a statement. "As private a life as he lived close to intimate family and friends, his music forever belongs to the world. In this difficult time, we pray his music offers comfort and entertainment as fans hold tight to loved ones."

Enjoy more of his music below and, though you can't do it physically during these socially distanced times, lean on one another — so we can all get by.

GO DEEPER:

Disney Announces Mass Worker Furloughs As Pandemic Pummeling Continues

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A pedestrian walks past the boarded up Disney Store on Michigan Avenue on March 27, 2020 in Chicago, Ill. Scott Olson/Getty Images

In good times, few media giants were more successful than the Walt Disney Co. But with the global economy in tatters, with pandemic-related spending on recreation plummeting, Disney is now suffering more than almost any other entertainment company.

The Burbank-based Disney, with some 220,000 employees worldwide, said in a statement Thursday that it would furlough an unspecified number of workers “whose jobs aren’t necessary at this time.” The cuts are set to take effect on April 19.

While many smaller companies with a narrow business focus have been devastated by the coronavirus outbreak — think airlines and restaurants — the pandemic has hit almost every one of Disney’s core businesses.

Disney’s dozen theme parks, which contribute almost half of the company’s profits, are locked up around the globe. The company’s cruise ships are empty, as are theaters where musicals like “The Lion King” would play. With essentially every domestic and international multiplex shut down, there’s no way Disney can exhibit its movies, which include the Pixar, Marvel and LucasFilm brands. The release dates for the presumptive blockbusters “Mulan” and “Black Widow” have been scrapped.

With no new movies coming out, related consumer product sales are stalled, and the nearly 400 Disney Stores around the world are closed. As you might have noticed, there’s not a whole lot of live sports these days, so Disney’s massive ESPN franchise can’t broadcast games or highlights, which has cost the network millions in lost advertising and viewership.

The majority of Disney employees work in the division that includes theme parks. Disney said it would continue to provide health insurance to its furloughed workers. It’s unclear how the company will work with unions that cover some employees, where furloughs might not be permissible.

Earlier this week, Disney said it would cut the pay of its leadership staff, including new CEO Bob Chapek. While the overall stock market is off sharply this year, the price of Disney’s shares have fallen even worse, and are off about 35% so far in 2020.

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Bad Jobs News Now, Worse To Come

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Courtesy of NPR

This unprecedented shutdown has already pushed some 10 million people out of work, according to initial claims for unemployment filed in the last two weeks.

Keep in mind: Most of those job losses won't show up until the April employment report is published a month from now.

READ MORE ON THE NEW NUMBERS:

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Morning Briefing: Tales From An L.A. Emergency Room Doctor

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Gov. Gavin Newsom has long been saying that California is about to experience a surge in coronavirus patients. According to one L.A. emergency room doctor who we've been talking to, health care workers are bracing for it. Elly Yu, who’s been in regular contact with medical professionals on the front lines, reports that more patients with COVID-19 are showing up in hospitals, and ICUs are starting to get full.

So, when officials say to keep up that social distance and wear a makeshift mask if you can, it’s probably a good idea to follow along. Fortunately, fashioning your own mask out of an old t-shirt is relatively easy, even for the less-than-crafty among us.

Here’s what we’re covering today:

  • Rent moratoriums are one thing, reports Matt Tinoco; but if tenants have to make up rent that's been missed, that could make the difference between having a home and becoming homeless.
  • Aaron Mendelson takes a deeper look at the results of the race for District Attorney — and finds some revealing data.
  • Loans for small businesses and nonprofits impacted by the coronavirus outbreak will become available today. Emily Guerin asks if local banks are ready.
  • Disney will begin a furloughing process of non-union employees on April 19, John Horn will looks at the repercussions for this industry giant.
  • Santa Monica College Foundation opened a drive-through “pop-up” pantry for food insecure students. Adolfo Guzman-Lopez talks to the key players.
  • Elly Yu speaks to an ER doctor who says that more and more COVID-19 patients are coming every day.
  • Lots of landlords seem to be pushing their tenants to pay online in the age of coronavirus, in part for social distancing — but it also often pushes renters into automatic monthly payment. The problem, reports David Wagner, is that this is illegal in California.

Catch up on all these stories in our P.M. newsletter:


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HERE’S WHAT HAPPENED IN THE PAST 24 HOURS:

By the numbers:

What's going on in the schools:

The official word:

What's going on in our hospitals and institutions:

News you can use:


And since we all need the break, here are some non-COVID-19 reads:

(Images by LAist Staff/Emojis designed by OpenMoji)

And now, your moment of Zen:

Cathy Ward, who is on the board of trustees for our non-profit newsroom, shared this beautiful shot that she took of a Bristlecone pine tree in the national park outside of Big Pine.

(Courtesy of Cathy Ward)

Help us cover your community:

  • Got something you’ve always wanted to know about Southern California and the people who call it home? Is there an issue you want us to cover? Ask us anything.
  • Have a tip about news on which we should dig deeper? Let us know.

The news cycle moves fast. Some stories don't pan out. Others get added. Consider this today's first draft.